But I do say, that in all ​disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people. …issue is his pamphlet “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770). A Minister of State will sometimes keep himself totally estranged from all his collegues; will differ from them in their councils, will privately traverse, and publicly oppose, their measures. This gentleman, by setting himself strongly in oppo​sition to the Court Cabal, had become at once an object of their persecution, and of the popular savour. In what manner our domestic œconomy is affected by this system, it is needless to explain. His Court rival has them all. The Court faction have at length committed them. Such a fear, being the tender sensation of virtue, excited, as it is regulated, by reason, frequently shews itself in a seasonable boldness, which keeps danger at a distance, by seeming to despise it. They do not behold the cause of this distress in any part of the apparatus of Royal magnificence. It does not appear that the duties which were then applied to the ordinary Government produced clear above 580,000l. Parliament was therefore to be taught by degrees a total indifference to the persons, rank, influence, abilities, connexions, and character, of the Ministers of the Crown. With such an arrangement at Court, it is impossible it should have been otherwise. The science of evasion, already tolerably understood, would then be brought to the greatest perfection. It is very rare indeed for men to be wrong in their feelings concerning public misconduct; as rare to be right in their speculation upon the cause of it. Certain it is, the best patriots in the greatest commonwealths have always commended and promoted such connexions. But to others it suggested sentiments of a very different nature. When any adverse connexion is to be destroyed, the Cabal seldom appear in the work themselves. Strip it of the poor reward of popularity; suffer even the excesses committed in ​defence of the popular interest, to become a ground for the majority of that House to form a disqualification out of the line of the law, and at their pleasure, attended not only with the loss of the franchise, but with every kind of personal disgrace.—If this shall happen, the people of this kingdom may be assured that they cannot be firmly or faithfully served by any man. Fierce licentiousness begets violent restraints. annually; if it ever produced so much clear. In Edmund Burke: Political life …issue is his pamphlet “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770). The same principle guides in both; I mean, the opinion which is entertained by many, of the infallibility of laws and regulations, in the cure of public distempers. It grows weaker and weaker. Parliament ​cannot with any great propriety punish others, for things in which they themselves have been accomplices. Nor will it be impossible for a Prince to find out such a mode of Government, and such persons to administer it, as will give a great degree of content to his people; without any curious and anxious research for that abstract, universal, perfect harmony, which while he is seeking, he abandons those means of ordinary tranquillity which are in his power without any research at all. In such a strait the wisest may well be perplexed, and the boldest staggered. The latter character, even when it is not in its extreme, will execute this trust but very imperfectly; and, if deviating to the least excess, will certainly frustrate instead of forwarding the purposes of a controul on Government. The quarrel is begun between the Representatives and the People. He communicates very little in a direct manner with the greater part of our men ​of business. This Cabal has, with great success, propagated a doctrine which serves for a colour to thole acts of treachery; and whilst it receives any degree of countenance, it will be utterly senseless to look for a vigorous opposition to the Court Party. Free delivery on qualified orders. Every one must remember that the Cabal set out with the most astonishing prudery, both moral and political. Fast and free shipping free returns cash on delivery available on eligible purchase. A popular origin cannot therefore be the characteristics distinction of a popular representative. Such are the consequences of the division of the Court from the Administration; and of the division of public men among themselves. Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any. Such has been the aspect of our foreign politicks, under the influence of a double Cabinet. For then the evil is not accidental, but settled. Resistance to power, has shut the door of the House of Commons to one man; obsequiousness and servility, to none. The subject is the nepotism of King George III and the influence of the Court on the House of Commons of Great Britain. Francis Canavan, one of the great Burke scholars of the twentieth century, has added forewords and a biographical note on Payne. It was pursued into its utmost consequences; and ​a dangerous principle has begot a correspondent practice. I do not wonder that the behaviour of many parties should have made persons of tender and scrupulous virtue somewhat out of humour with all sorts of connexion in politicks. The consequences were, however, curious. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents is a political pamphlet by the Anglo-Irish politician and philosopher Edmund Burke, first published on 23 April 1770. They will trust an inquisitive and distinguishing Parliament; because it does enquire, and does distinguish. No_Favorite. At the same time, through the intervention of men of popular weight and character, the people possessed a security for their just portion of im​portance in the State. a year. : Burke III, Edmund: Amazon.sg: Books. The father of his people cannot possibly enjoy repose, while his family is in such a state of distraction. Thus Parliament was to look. The late proceeding, I will not say, is contrary to law; it must be so; for the power which is claimed cannot, by any possibility, be a legal power in any limited member of Government. But this was neither owing to affectation nor inadvertence. The question is not concerning absolute discontent or perfect satisfaction in Government; neither of which can be pure and unmixed at any time, or upon any system. The circumstances are in a great measure new. Parliamentary support comes and goes with office, totally regardless of the man, or the merit. Whilst any errours committed in support of power were left to the law, with every advantage of favourable construction, of mitigation, and finally of pardon; all excesses on the side of liberty, or in pursuit of popular favour, or in defence of popular rights and privileges, were not only to be punished by the rigour of the known law, but by a discretionary proceeding which brought on the loss of the popular object itself. Translation of the epigraph: "This secret, internal, and domestic evil not only exists, but even overwhelms you before you can foresee it or examine into it. And whether it will be right, in a State so popular in its constitution as ours, to leave ambition without popular motives, and to trust all to the operation of pure virtue in the minds of Kings and Ministers, and public men, must be submitted to the judgement and good sense of the people of England. On the other hand, the peculiar character of the House of Commons, as trustee of the public purse, would have led them to call with a punctilious solicitude for every public account, and to have examined into them with the most rigorous accuracy. The electors of Middlesex chose a person whom the House of Commons had voted incapable; and the House of Commons has taken in a member whom the electors of Middlesex had not chosen. They are distributed with art and judgement through all the secondary, but efficient, departments of office, and through the households of all the branches of the Royal Family: so as on one hand to occupy all the avenues to the Throne; and on the other to forward or frustrate the execution of any measure, according to their own interests. The effects were these. Indeed it was then asserted, and, I have no doubt, truely, that for many years the net produce did not amount to above 550,000l. If therefore this system has so ill answered its own grand pretence of saving the King from the necessity of employing persons disagreeable to him, has it given more peace and tranquillity to his Majesty's private hours? This, I said, is equal in importance to the securing a Government according to law. When, therefore, the abettors of the new system tell us, that between them and their opposers there is nothing but a struggle for power, and that therefore we are no-ways concerned in it; we must tell those who have the impudence to insult us in this manner, that of all things we ought to be the most concerned, who and what sort of men they are, that hold the trust of every thing that is dear to us. Cart Hello Select your address Best Sellers Today's Deals Electronics Customer … a year by the law of the land; and if by the law of Parliament all the debts which exceed it are to be paid previous to the production of any account; I presume that this is equivalent to an income with no other limits than the abilities of the subject and the moderation of the Court; that is to say, it is such an income as is possessed by every absolute Monarch in Europe. Against the being of Parliament, I am satisfied, no designs have ever been entertained since the ​Revolution. It has however so happened, that if I were to fix upon any one point, in which this system has been more particularly and shamefully blameable, the effects which it has produced would justify me in choosing for that point its tendency to degrade the personal dignity of the Sovereign, and to expose him to a thousand contradictions and mortifications. They gave themselves, under the lax and indeterminate idea of the honour of the Crown, a full loose for all manner of dissipation, and all manner of corruption. No one will doubt, that such men were abhorred and violently opposed by the Court Faction, and that such, a system could have but a short duration. The people are satisfied to trust themselves with the exercise of their own privileges, and do not desire this kind intervention of the House of Commons to free them from the burthen. Those attempts in the House of Lords can no more be called aristocratic proceedings, than the proceedings with regard to the county of Middlesex in the House of Commons can with any sense be called democratical. No wonder that it produces such effects. These compose the inventory of prosperous circumstances, whether they regard a Prince or a subject; their ​enjoyments differing only in the scale upon which they are formed. Thy favourites grow not up by fortune's sport,Or from the crimes or follies of a court.On the firm basis of desert they rise,From long-try'd faith, and friendship's holy ties. It is this unnatural infusion of a system of Favouritism into a Government which in a great part of its constitution is popular, that has raised the present ferment in the nation. Try. All this however is submitted to, in order to avoid that monstrous evil of governing in concurrence with the opinion of the people. If any particular Peers, by their uniform, upright, constitutional conduct, by their public and their private virtues, have acquired an influence in the country; the people, on whose favour that influence depends, and from whom it arose, will never be duped into an opinion, that such greatness in a Peer is the despotism of an aristocracy, when they know and feel it to be the effect and pledge of their own importance. None are considered as well-wishers to the Crown, but those who advise to some unpopular course of action; none capable of serving it, but those who are obliged to call at every instant upon all its power for the safety of their lives. Jealousies and animosities are sedulously nourished in the outward Administration, and have been even considered as a causa sine qua non in its constitution: thence foreign Courts have a certainty, that nothing can be done by common counsel in this nation. They enjoy a privilege, of somewhat more dignity and effect, than that of idle lamentation over the calamities of their country. In truth, they have so contrived matters, that people have a greater hatred to the subordinate instruments than to the principal movers. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. The distemper becomes the natural habit. Those knots or cabals of men who have got together, avowedly without any public principle, in order to fell their conjunct iniquity at the higher rate, and are therefore universally odious, ought never to be suffered to domineer in the State; because they have no connexion with the sentiments and opinions of the people. Foreign powers, confident in the knowledge of their character, have not scrupled to violate the most solemn treaties; and, in defiance of them, to make conquests in the midst of a general peace, and in the heart of Europe. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents. The people, without entering deeply into its principles, could plainly perceive its effects, in much violence, in a great spirit of innovation, and a general disorder in all the functions of Government. At the Revolution, the Crown, deprived, for the ends of the Revolution itself, of many prerogatives, was found too weak to struggle against all the difficulties which pressed so new and unsettled a Government. Where popular discontents have been very prevalent; it may well be affirmed and supported, that there has been generally something found amiss in the constitution, or in the conduct of Government. Many other serious considerations occur. If once Members of Parliament can be practically convinced, that they do not depend on the affection or opinion of the people for their political being; they will give themselves over, without even an appearance of reserve, to the influence of the Court. I would not shut out that sort of influence which is open and visible, which is connected with the dignity and the service of the State, when it is not in my power to prevent the influence of contracts, of subscriptions, of direct bribery, and those innumerable methods of clandestine corruption, which are abundantly in the hands of the Court, and which will be applied as long as these means of corruption, and the disposition to be corrupted, have existence amongst us. Foreign Courts and Ministers, who were among the first to discover and to profit by this invention of the double Cabinet, attend very little to their remonstrances. It is not support that is wanting to Government, but reformation. This, with allowances for human frailty, may probably be the general character of a Ministry, which thinks itself accountable to the House of Commons; when the House of Commons thinks itself accountable to its constituents. For it is not the derivation of the power of that House from the people, which makes it in a distinct sense their representative. In all this, they see nothing but the operations of parsimony, attended with all the consequences of profusion. This marvellous abhorrence which the Court had suddenly taken to all influence, was not only circulated in conversation through ​the kingdom, but pompously announced to the publick, with many other extraordinary things, in a pamphlet[3] which had all the appearance of a manifesto preparatory to some considerable enterprize. These contrivances oblige them to run into a real and ruinous servitude, in order to avoid a supposed restraint that might be attended with advantage. Not in the least—"such limits as the "honour of the Crown can possibly admit.". The method of construction which in that cafe gives to the persons in remainder, for their security and representative, the door-keeper, cryer, or sweeper of the Court, or some other shadowy being without substance or effect, is a fiction of a very coarse texture. It was not instituted to be a controul upon the people, as of late it has been taught, by a doctrine of the most pernicious tendency. But when it stands upon private humour, its structure is of stubble, and its foundation is on quicksand. But when the House of Commons was to be new modelled, this principle was not only to be changed, but reversed. This claim in their hands was no barren theory. The lessening and granting away some part of her revenue by Parliament was alledged as the cause of that debt, and pleaded as an equitable ground, such it certainly was, for discharging it. To him the whole nation was to yield an immediate and implicit submission. The system of Administration is open to continual shocks and changes, upon the principles of the meanest cabal, and the most contemptible intrigue. And coming to the throne in the prime and full vigour of youth, as from affection there was a strong dislike, so from dread there seemed to be a general averseness, from giving any thing like offence to a Monarch, against whose resentment opposition could not look for a refuge in any sort of reversionary hope. The House of Commons, as it was never intended for the support of peace and subordination, is miserably appointed for that service; having no stronger weapon than its Mace, and no better officer than its Serjeant at Arms, which it can command of its own proper authority. What shall we think of him who never differed from a certain set of men until the moment they lost their power, and who never agreed with them in a single instance afterwards? Breaches of any of these kinds of civil relation were considered as acts of the most, distinguished turpitude. As there always are many rotten members belonging to the best connexions, it is not hard to per​suade several to continue in office without their leaders. The gentlemen of the House of Commons have an interest equally strong, in sustaining the part of that intermediate cause. evil design. Every one must perceive, that it is strongly the interest of the Court, to have some second cause interposed between the Ministers and the people. Skip to main content . The very stile of such persons will serve to discriminate them from those numberless impostors, who have deluded the ignorant with professions incompatible with human practice, and have afterwards incensed them by practices below the level of vulgar rectitude. Nations are ​governed by the same methods, and on the same principles, by which an individual without authority is often able to govern those who are his equals or his superiours; by a knowledge of their temper, and by a judicious management of it; I mean,—when public affairs are steadily and quietly conducted; not when Government is nothing but a continued scuffle between the magistrate and the multitude; in which sometimes the one and sometimes the other is uppermost; in which they alternately yield and prevail, in a series of contemptible victories and scandalous submissions. Afterwards they are sure to destroy him in his turn; by setting up in his place some person in whom he had himself reposed the greatest confidence, and who serves to carry off a considerable part of his adherents. The nation had settled 800,000l. Even all the use and potency of the laws depends upon them. Such men were able to draw in a greater number to a concurrence in the common defence. They do not respect the publick nor themselves, who engage for more, than they are sure that they ought to attempt, or that they are able to perform. Members of Parliament were to be hardened into an insensibility to pride as well as to duty. It is an undertaking of some degree of delicacy to examine into the cause of public disorders. "Les revolutions qui arrivent dans les grands etats ne sont point un effect du hazard, ni du caprice des peuples. Significant quotes in Edmund Burke's Thoughts On The Cause Of The Present Discontents with explanations Every thing partakes of the original disorder. But it is nothing to the prolific principle upon which the sum was voted; a principle that may be well called, the fruitful mother of an hundred ​more. They find out some person of whom the party entertains an high opinion. This is a question altogether different from the disqualification of a particular description of Revenue Officers from seats in Parliament; or, perhaps, of all the lower sorts of them from ​votes in elections. If this were compassed, the influence of the Crown must of course produce all the effects which the most sanguine partizans of the Court could possibly desire. The plan proceeds expressly on the idea of enfeebling the regular executory power. This wife people was far from imagining that those connexions had no tie, and obliged to no duty; but that men might quit them without shame, upon every call of interest. The latter were alone to be responsible; whilst the real advisers, who enjoyed all the power, were effectually removed from all the danger. The third point, and that on which the success of the whole scheme ultimately depended, was to bring Parliament to an acquiescence in this project. Those bodies, which, when full of life and beauty, lay in their arms, and were their joy and comfort, when dead and putrid, become but the more loathsome from remembrance of former endearments. Particular punishments are the cure for accidental distempers in the State; they inflame rather than allay those heats which arise from the settled mismanagement of the Government, or from a natural ill disposition in the people. nor, in the whole course of our history, has any compliance with the will of the people ever been known to extort from any Prince a greater contradiction to all his own declared affections and dislikes than that which is now adopted, in direct opposition to every thing the people approve and desire. Now the principle is reversed; and the favour of the Court is the only sure way of obtaining and ​holding those honours which ought to be in the disposal of the people. The laws themselves will not be respected, when those who execute them are despised; and they will be despised, when their power is not immediate from the Crown, or natural in the kingdom. It behoves the people of England to consider how the House of Commons under the operation of these examples must of necessity be constituted. Would not such a coincidence of interest and opinion be rather fortunate? Find in this title: Find again. But a great official, a great professional, a great military and naval interest, all necessarily comprehending many people of the first weight, ability, wealth, and spirit, has been gradually formed in the kingdom. But, before Parliament could be made subservient to a system, by which it was to be degraded from the dignity of a national council, into a mere member of the Court, it must be greatly changed from its original character. I have constantly observed, that the generality of people are fifty years, at least, behind-hand in their politicks. I am not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. ", transactions relative to Saint George's Fields, https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Thoughts_on_the_Cause_of_the_Present_Discontents&oldid=9537494, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. But it is a principle pregnant with all ​sorts of mischief, in a constitution like ours, to turn the views of active men from the country to the Court. But when this submission is urged to us, in a contest between the representatives and ourselves, and where nothing can be put into their scale which is not taken from ours, they fancy us to be children when they tell us they are our representatives, our own flesh and blood, and that all the stripes they give us are for our good. We may assure ourselves, that if Parliament will tamely see evil men take possession of all the strong-holds of their country, and allow them time and means to fortify themselves, under a pretence of giving them a fair trial, and upon a hope of discovering, whether they will not be reformed by power, and whether their measures will not be better than their morals; such a Parliament will give countenance to their measures also, whatever that Parliament may pretend, and whatever those measures may be. a year. Even the holding of offices together, the disposition of which arose from chance not selection, gave rise to a relation, which continued for life. He carried the glory, the power, the commerce of England, to an height unknown even to this renowned nation in the times of its greatest prosperity; and he left his ​succession resting on the true and only true foundations of all national and all regal greatness; affection at home, reputation abroad, trust in allies, terror in rival nations. For which reason men are wise with but little reflexion, and good with little ​denial, in the business of all times except their own. A New Imprint of the Payne Edition. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770), which sets forth the political creed of the Whig faction led by the Marquis of Rockingham, for whom Burke acted as spokesman. The elevation of the one, and the depression of the other, are the first objects of all true policy. These are considerations which in my opinion enforce the necessity of having some better reason, in a free country, and a free Parliament, for supporting the Ministers of the Crown, than that short one, That the King has thought proper to appoint them. By such means it may appear who those are, that, by an indiscriminate support of all Administrations, have totally banished all integrity and confidence out of public proceedings; have confounded the best men with the worst; and weakened and dissolved, instead of strengthening and compacting, the general frame of Government. of the holder; and although Government certainly is an institution of Divine authority, yet its forms, and the persons who administer it, all originate from the people. ​Not one of their abettors has ever undertaken to assign the principle of unfitness, the species or degree of delinquency, on which the House of Commons will expel, nor the mode of proceeding upon it, nor the evidence upon which it is established. They do, but the protests aren’t about that. But with the governing part of the State, it is far otherwise. However, some circumstances, arising, it must be confessed, in a great degree from accident, prevented the effects of this influence for a long time from breaking out in a manner capable of exciting any serious apprehensions. He did not dispute the right of the crown to tax the colonies but objected to doing so without the consent of the colonists. The popular election of magistrates, and popular disposition of rewards and honours, is one of the first advantages of a free State. It will not be conceivable to any one who has not seen it, what pleasure is taken by the Cabal in rendering these heads of office throughly contemptible and ridiculous. Such is the effect of this refined project; such is ever the result of all the contrivances which are used to free men from the servitude of their reason, and from the necessity of ordering their affairs according to their evident interests. This change from an immediate state of procuration and delegation to a course of acting as from original power, is the way in which all the popular magistracies in the world have been perverted from their purposes. Whether a measure of Government be right or wrong, is no matter of fact, but a mere affair of opinion, on which men may, as they do, dispute and ​wrangle without end. It is indeed their greatest and sometimes their incurable corruption. They grow ashamed and mortified in a situation, which, by its vicinity to power, only serves to remind them the more strongly of their insignificance. With great truth I may aver, that I never remember to have talked on this subject with any man much conversant with public business, who considered short Parliaments as a real improvement of the constitution.
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